Crowdfunded Solar Roadways Could Power the World

An American couple wants to cover every inch of asphalt in the world with solar panels.

Everyone's got their Thing. Electrical engineer Scott Brusaw and his partner Julie are passionate about solar panels. If they had it their way, they’d cover every single concrete/asphalt surface on the Earth with them – including major roads. However, before taking on Highway One, they’re starting with more modest aspirations: parking lots. And they’re looking for crowd funding support to get things moving as quickly as possible.

Over the past eight years, the Brusaws have devised a modular system named ‘Solar Roadways’. With the help of US Federal Highway Administration funding and an Indiegogo campaign in the works, they’ve developed panels that can handle traction, loading and impact resistance. In other words, you can drive all over them to your heart’s content. A prototype parking lot has been tested and now the Brusaws are ready to go into production.

Solar-panelled road

Not only does a Solar Roadway parking lot enable the nearest buildings to come off the grid, it also provides a clean energy source for the recharging of all-electric vehicles. Plus, there’s enough heat to melt ice and snow — salting the streets will be a chore of past grumbling teenagers. Each panel is fitted with LEDs, reducing the danger of night blindness, as well as enough intelligence to warn drivers of unexpected obstacles, such as wandering animals. No more deer in the headlights.

Solar panelled road at night.

What’s more, the inclusion of special ‘Cable Corridors’ means two things. On one hand, they’re an easily accessible home for open air cables and fibre optic internet. On the other, they enable the storage, treatment and redirection of storm water. So many wins.

Solar Roadways have already won the blue ribbons around town. The road received First Prize in GE’s 2010 Ecoimagination Grid Challenge for 'Powering the Grid' and First Prize in GE’s 2011 Ecoimagination Challenge for 'Powering the Home'. The Brusaws' Indiegogo campaign, running until May 31, is hoping to raise $1 million.

[via PSFK]

Published on April 29, 2014 by Jasmine Crittenden

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